401(k)’s Explained

I’m sure by this point you know it is very important to save into a retirement account so that at one point you can stop working. But this can be confusing to navigate when you are unsure of what the different accounts are and how they work. The numbers and letters are thrown around so often it can be easy to feel like you should just KNOW what everything means. But what exactly is a 401(k)?

Simply put, a 401(k) is a retirement savings plan that comes from Section 401 part k of the IRS tax code. It is what is known as a “pre-tax” investment which means that generally you are able to deduct annual contributions on your taxes each year. Once the money is in the account, it grows tax-free until you withdraw the money. At that point, you will have to pay taxes on your initial investment and also any growth that has accumulated.

If your employer has a 401(k) available for you to invest in, most times they will also offer a match up to a certain percentage. For example, some employers may match dollar for dollar up to 6%. So if you invest 6% of your paycheck into your 401(k), your employer will match that 6%. That’s FREE money!

401(k)’s can be a fantastic vehicle to accumulate money for retirement. While it can be confusing with so many different types of accounts the key is to get started saving and never turn back!


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How Interest Rates Work

I’m sure you have seen interest rates on a variety of different credit cards, car loans, student loans or other lines of credit. But what do these numbers mean? An interest rate is simply what you are being charged on a loan. For example, if you take out a $25,000 car loan at 5% interest, you will not only owe the original $25,000, but you will also owe an additional $1,250 in interest over the life of the loan.

Alternatively, interest can work in your favor and tell you how much you will be paid on your money. Different savings accounts, CD’s and investment vehicles tell you exactly how much interest you will be paid by putting your money in that specific account.

If you are looking to find out how you can get interest working in your favor, check out the list of online banks and investment vehicles that we recommend HERE on our website.


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Have A Debt-Free Vacation With This Tool

Are you going to take a vacation this year? My guess is that your answer is YES. You have probably already decided when and where you want to go and have started dreaming about it. Now, how are you going to fund this vacation you’ve dreamed up? If you start planning now, you could fund it with cash!

By planning ahead of time, you can more accurately see just how much each aspect of your vacation will cost. You can anticipate travel, gas, lodging, food, entertainment and other expenses. Once you know how much your vacation is expected to cost, you can save money ahead of time!

We recommend using our Mini-Budget Tool to plan your vacation spending. You can really plan your vacation three different ways to see different scenarios and how they affect your bottom line. If you spend your money on paper, you can stay within budget during the trip.

Setting a budget and planning ahead of time is key to having a debt-free vacation. And I guarantee you, a debt-free vacation is a million times better than the alternative. You can have all the fun with your family without the stress of the incoming credit card bill.


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MONDAY MONEY TIP PODCAST: Christmas 2018 Special

Merry Christmas Eve! Today on the Monday Money Tip Podcast, I’m sharing how you can balance striving for future goals while still being content with what you currently have. We’ll talk about our R&R at the end of the year and goals you should consider for next year. We will also share a very special success story and a big announcement about the future of the Monday Money Tip Podcast!

It’s our goal at the end of each episode that you gain hope and encouragement in your financial journey, you’re equipped to take a next step, and that you’ve had FUN with us!

Find the Monday Money Tip Podcast HERE. Please let us know what you think by leaving us a rating!

Email to ask questions or share success stories.


Show Notes

About the Episode:

  • Joe shares each of the categories in which you should set goals for 2019.
  • Hear a very special success story that relates directly to the Monday Money Tip Podcast.
  • Learn how to balance striving for future goals and being happy with what you currently have.

Annual Plan Tools
Budget Tools

Quote of the Day: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” – 1 Timothy 6:6-10


Retirement Nest Egg Calculator

Do you know how much money you will need per year in retirement? Do you know how that number will be affected by inflation? I would encourage you to check out our Retirement Nest-Egg Calculator Tool. While it may trigger a shock to your system when you see the numbers, it can help you get into gear to retire well.

This calculator is incredibly easy to use and only needs two pieces of information from you! All you need to do is enter the amount of money you would like annually in retirement and how many years until you expect to retire. After that, the calculator will compute the amount of money that you need to have saved and how different annual rates of return will change that number.

Below you can see a calculation that I ran for an “annual amount I want” of $75,000 if I hypothetically retire in 20 years:

As you use this calculator, keep a couple of things in mind:

  1. The calculator assumes that you will never touch the principal.
  2. The calculator assumes that you will give your nest-egg a “cost-of-living-raise” of 4% each year.
  3. This calculator adjusts the “annual amount your want” for an average annual inflation of 4%.

So, at 4% annual inflation, I will need $164,334 per year in 20 years to have the same purchasing power that $75,000 has today.

The bottom six rows tell you what you need to have in your nest-egg at different rates of annual growth. At 8% annual return, I would need $4,108,356 when I retire. That number drops significantly if I expect growth of 12% and I would only need $2,054,178 when I retire.

These numbers may seem astronomical and you might feel like you will never build a nest-egg of that size. But remember, the power of compound interest can work in your favor! By starting early and investing consistently, you can watch your nest-egg grow to numbers you may have only dreamed of.


Want more tips like this one?  Subscribe to the Monday Money Tip Podcast HERE.